The company says it is the first producer in Italy to invest in the aseptic combined blow-fill-cap with dry preform decontamination.
Increasing consumption of UHT milk
By integrating preform decontamination, blowing and filling functions with cap decontamination in a single enclosure, the Sidel Combi Predis ensures an aseptically filled and capped PET bottle, without consuming water.
Paolo Bonometti, plant director, Centrale del Latte di Brescia, said building on the increasing consumption of UHT milk in PET in Italy, it needed to enlarge its production capacity, while reducing its reliance on chemicals.
“Compared with PET lines equipped with a stand-alone blower and aseptic filler with wet bottle decontamination, the Sidel Combi Predis is easier to operate and maintain,” he added.
“We benefit from the proximity of the Sidel Parma plant, located some 120km from our plant. Today, we welcome many beverage and dairy players who want to see the aseptic Combi Predis in operation, in what is recognized as a reference among LDP (liquid dairy products) production sites in Europe.”
Centrale del Latte di Brescia produces fresh milk, mascarpone, yogurt, cheese, plant-based milk alternatives, eggs and egg-based products, on-the-go salads and cold cuts.
It claims to be the first manufacturer in Italy to produce UHT long-life milk (in the 1960s) and to package it in PET bottles (in the early 2000s), the first to produce a yogurt-based recipe for ice cream and premium-priced high-quality milk with nutritional characteristics.
The company markets its own brand and is a co-packer for other producers and private labels.
Roll-fed sleeve labels
“Our innovative bottle breaks the visual codes of the containers that our consumers were accustomed to for UHT milk,” said Bonometti.
“We played with the shape and large surface area the bottle has for decoration, ‘dressing’ our products with roll-fed or sleeve labels, complete with a tamper evident seal around the cap.
“We strongly believe in refreshing the brand, to give our milk range a more dynamic and modern image. PET bottles offer us great freedom in package design to achieve brand differentiation.”
Guillaume Rolland, director, Sensitive Products, Sidel, said PET packaging for dairy retains the fresh taste, vitamin content, texture and color from production to storage, including shipment and distribution.
“The opaque barrier PET we use, combined with the dry preform decontamination process, offers great product safety. We do not need to use any aluminum lid as the tightness between injected bottle neck and cap is very reliable,” he added.
According to Bonometti, one of the main challenges in installation was the small floor space at Centrale del Latte di Brescia’s plant, an historic building in the city center.
“An old building was destroyed and replaced by a new one with two levels: the basement for the raw material storage and the ground floor for the offices and aseptic production areas,” he said.
An industrial configuration similar to that of the first aseptic line based on a standalone equipment approach did not fit within the limited available floor space so the company had to implement a more compact configuration.
“The low-output aseptic Sidel Combi Predis specifically accommodates the need for an ultra-reduced footprint, making it ideally suited to the space constraints we faced in our plant. It is also perfectly sized for our production needs of up to 16,000 bottles per hour, allowing us to double our production volume of UHT milk.”
The line is used for milk, including Centrale del Latte di Brescia’s own brand and private label, in 330ml, 500ml and 1 liter sizes.